Tuesday, January 17, 2012


You really didn’t hear a lot of talk about THE VASELINES’ second album – and first since 1989 – “Sex With An X” when it came out in 2010. I mean, twenty-one years and all that. I happened to miss the “reunion” shows when they happened upon my town, and regrettably so. I, like just about everyone else, was a huge fan of their 80s stuff when I encountered it during Nirvana-mania in the early 90s. The Sub Pop comp that came out around then, “The Way of The Vaselines”, is among my favorite and most listened-to collections of music, and these Scots are one of the quote-unquote alterna-pop bands against whom subsequent pretenders are typically compared. I figured I’d try to get a little more familiar with the recent one and give you a track to listen to so you could help me bestow summary judgment upon it as well.

The “Sex With An X” album is a far cut above your typical reunion album. First of all, Eugene and Frances sound like they just shuffled over to 2010 with every bit of pop and harmonic and sardonic lyric-writing capacity intact from their previous lives. It’s a natural follow up to 1989’s “Dum-Dum” – just not quite at that level across the board. There are a few ringers for sure, like the title track I’m posting for you here. The album is steeped in faux sexual tension and a general sneering condescension toward the past (most notably in the song “I Hate The 80s”), all wrapped in a happy, smiling bow. Really, is there a more uplifting and distinctive voice than Frances McKee’s? She defines Scottish pop for me, and hey, you might as well give her and “Eugenius” credit for the Year That Punk Broke, since they wrote the template for Nirvana and all. I’m a fan of “Sex With An X” and reckon it needs a few more listeners than I perceive it to have received upon its release 16 months ago.